Voting Blog

Three simple steps you can take to protect your vote

As we come closer to the Nov elections, there are still many countries without international postal service due to the Covid pandemic and the USPS is being compromised and undermined in order to deter vote by mail.

In the face of this we are having to take extra care, diligence and determination to ensure that our voted ballots arrive at our local elections office on time to be counted for the Nov elections.

Here are three things that you can do to help make sure your ballot is received on time and counted:

  1. If you voted in the primary, please contact your local elections office to find out if your voted primary ballot was both received and accepted (by ‘accepted’ we mean counted). Knowing this means that if for any reason your primary ballot was NOT accepted, you have the opportunity to correct the issue before the presidential election. Some states may allow you to check the accepted status of your ballot via the resources at the bottom of the state pages, for others you may have to contact your elections office directly.

    If your ballot was rejected please give detail of this in the survey form and also include contact details if you require support in resolving any voter issues ahead of the Nov elections.

  2. If you think there could be any reason for a signature mismatch with your voted ballot (change in marital status for example), please check with your local elections office before you complete your ballot.

  3. If you vote in a state that requires ballot return by mail, please vote NOW using the Backup Ballot (FWAB), in order to get a headstart on the postal delivery. You can also mail in the official ballot which should arrive on Sept 19. If both ballots arrive by the deadline, only your official ballot will be counted; the Backup Ballot will be discarded.

Many thanks and happy voting!

DA Voter Protection
Democrats Abroad
[email protected]


Geo-Blocked Voter Information Pages: Why It’s Happening and How You Can Fix It


Have you tried to access your state’s voter information pages, only to be met with a “Page Not Found” error message? You’re not alone! Some states are “geo-blocking” web traffic from outside the USA, which means access to voter registration, ballot status and other critical information will be denied if you’re using a foreign IP address. 

The solution: Use a VPN

These “firewalls”, intended to improve website security, are keeping U.S. citizens living abroad from accessing critical voter information. You can safely (and legally!) get around this by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN works by routing your device's internet connection through a private server rather than your internet service provider (ISP), so that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it comes from the “location” of the VPN rather than your computer. In this case, you’ll want to use a VPN located in the U.S. to access these blocked pages.

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Asistencia Mundial Personalizada para Votar - en vivo

¿Sabías que todos los estadounidenses elegibles que viven en el extranjero pueden votar en las elecciones estadounidenses este año?

¿Tienes preguntas sobre cómo votar? Haz clic en la burbuja de chat en la parte inferior de esta pantalla y contestaremos todas tus preguntas.

Únete a nuestra sesión de ayuda en Zoom todos los domingos hasta el día de las elecciones en noviembre, desde las 00:00 hasta las 24:00 (Hora del Este de los Estados Unidos), para hablar con un voluntario sobre las preguntas que tengas sobre votar desde el extranjero.

¿Cómo funciona en Zoom? Entrarás en la sala principal y serás emparejado con un voluntario, uno a uno, en una sala privada de reunión para asegurar privacidad, y que puedas obtener respuestas a todas tus preguntas. ¡No podría ser más fácil!

Más información: La manera más fácil de solicitar tu boleta es en VoteFromAbroad.org/es. Sólo toma unos minutos completar el formulario y enviarlo al estado de Estados Unidos donde viviste por última vez. Si nunca viviste en Estados Unidos, puedes registrarte utilizando la última dirección de tus padres o familiares. No es necesario poder recibir correo postal en esta dirección, ni tener un vínculo actual con el domicilio.. Si nunca has votado desde el extranjero, el sitio web te guiará paso a paso. En la mayoría de los casos es bastante simple, pero es posible que tengas preguntas adicionales. Por eso estaremos aquí todos los domingos hasta el día de las elecciones para apoyarte.

Si no puedes asistir ningún domingo, puedes enviarnos un correo electrónico a [email protected], o enviar tu pregunta a través de nuestra burbuja de ayuda en línea, y un voluntario se pondrá en contacto contigo de inmediato.

Haz clic en una fecha para obtener detalles específicos.

Julio 26,  
Agosto 29,  1623, 30
Septiembre 6, 13, 20, 27
Octubre 4, 11, 18, 25
1o de Noviembre

 

Aquí puedes acceder a un sitio web que convertirá la zona horaria del evento a la hora de dondequiera que estés en el mundo.


HOW TO VOTE USING THE EMERGENCY BACK-UP BALLOT (FWAB)

Is there a possibility your Official ballot won’t get to you in time to meet the ballot return deadlines?

VOTE NOW using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). This emergency Backup Ballot is specifically for overseas voters!

_____________

STEP I. Send in Your Ballot Request form (the Federal Post Card Application or FPCA):

Overseas voters need to submit a Ballot Request form every calendar year.

To fill out and submit your Ballot Request form, click here.

After you send it in, please be sure to verify with your Local Election Official (LEO) that they received your Ballot Request form and will send out your official ballot. You can find the contact information on the State Voting Guide: www.votefromabroad.org/states


STEP II. Fill out and Send in Your Emergency Back-up Ballot (the FWAB):

1. Go to this website and follow the prompts to Fill in the FWAB

2. The website may fill in the candidates for you to choose from. But if it does not, you can type in the candidate’s name.
Or, you can just type in "Democrat" for any office where you don't know the candidate's name. (This doesn't work for Primary elections since all of the candidates will be Democrats!)

3. Follow the instructions to download the PDF Package containing your completed FWAB and Instructions. You can also download templates to paste onto your envelopes if you return your ballot by postal mail.

4. Print out the completed FWAB and the other documents you downloaded. Then read and carefully follow the instructions to SUBMIT the required materials to your LEO.

To Return by Fax or Email: The Instructions will indicate if your state will accept the FWAB by Email or Fax. We recommend you do so to ensure it will be received by the deadline.

  • If your state only allows return by Fax (not Email) and you don’t have access to a fax machine, there are apps that will convert an email attachment to a fax. Scan in your FWAB and any required materials as an email attachment, then search for “fax app for Android/iPhone.” Follow the instructions to convert your email attachment to a fax transmission.

  • Or you can use the Fax service through the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP.gov). You will need to email your FWAB and any required supporting materials (see your state’s instructions) to [email protected] using the FVAP "Fax Transmission Coversheet," which you can find here (Scroll down to "Send in your forms...Email or Fax"). FVAP will then fax your election materials to your Local Election Office.

Return by Mail: If you choose–or if your state requires you–to return your FWAB by postal mail, please follow the instructions carefully.

Two envelopes are required:

  • a “Ballot Security Envelope”–to hold your completed FWAB ballot, and

  • a “Mailing Envelope”–to send in your sealed Ballot Security Envelope as well as the supporting materials with your identifying information.

When the Mailing Envelope reaches the Election Office, they will separate the Ballot Security Envelope from the supporting materials to maintain ballot secrecy.

If you wish, you can follow the instructions to download envelope templates to affix to blank envelopes. If you have your original signed Ballot Request form, include it in the outer “Mailing Envelope”.

__

*IMPORTANT: If you receive your official ballot after submitting your FWAB, you should complete and return your official ballot as well.

It’s okay–only one ballot per person will be counted! If both your FWAB and your official ballot arrive before the deadline, your FWAB will be discarded and only your official ballot will be counted.


LIVE 1-on-1 Voter Assistance for U.S. Citizens Abroad - Georgia Runoff

Scroll down and click on the dates below to RSVP and get connection details and reminders.

Did you know every eligible American living abroad can vote in U.S. elections? 

Was the last place you or your parent lived in the US the state of Georgia?

If you are 18 on or before January 5th you are allowed to vote in the runoff election. 

Do you have questions about how to vote? Click the chat bubble at the bottom of this screen and we can help you find the answers. 

But we get it. Sometimes you just want to speak to live person. 

Join us Tuesday & Thursday (noon-4pm January 5th & 7th. All time are listed as U.S. Eastern time. Our volunteers and standing by LIVE on Zoom to help answers questions you have about voting from abroad and curing your ballot.

How is it done on Zoom? You'll come into the main room and be paired 1:1 with a volunteer into a breakout room to ensure privacy and that you can get all your questions answered. It couldn't be easier. 

More information: The easiest way to request your ballot is at VoteFromAbroad.org. It takes just a few minutes to complete and send in your form to the US state where you last lived. The website will guide you step by step. In most cases it’s pretty simple. But if you’re new to voting abroad, or if you haven’t done it in a while, you may have additional questions. That’s why we’ll be here every Sunday until election day to help.

If you can’t make the 'office hours', you can always email us at [email protected] or send in your question through our online help bubble, and a volunteer will get back to you.

Here is a handy website to convert the time zone to yours wherever you are in the world.

Zoom Connection Details:


Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/91090344003
Meeting number: 910 9034 4003
PassWord: Vote2020

Tuesday & Thursday: Noon-4pm (U.S. Eastern)
January 5th and 7th


2020 Primary Calendar

    State / Territorial Primary
Mon Feb  3 Presidential Only:  Iowa caucuses
Tue Feb 11 Presidential Only:  New Hampshire
Sat Feb 22 Presidential Only:  Nevada caucus (D)
Sat Feb 29 Presidential Only:  South Carolina (D)
Tue Mar  3 Alabama ∙ Arkansas ∙ California ∙ North Carolina ∙ Texas
Presidential Only:  American Samoa caucus (D) ∙ Colorado ∙ Maine ∙ Massachusetts ∙ Minnesota ∙ Oklahoma ∙ Tennessee ∙ Utah ∙ Vermont ∙ Virginia
    Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary runs through March 10
Tue Mar 10 Mississippi
Presidential Only:  Idaho ∙ Michigan ∙ Missouri ∙ North Dakota caucus (D) ∙ Washington
Sat Mar 14 Northern Marianas convention (D)
Tue Mar 17 Illinois
Presidential Only:  Arizona (D) ∙ Florida
Tue Mar 31 Arkansas runoff ∙ Mississippi runoff
Sat Apr  4 Presidential Only:  Alaska (D) ∙ Hawaii (D) ∙ Wyoming caucus (D)
Tue Apr  7 Presidential Only:  Wisconsin
Tue Apr 28 Ohio
Sat May 2 Presidential Only:  Guam caucus (D) ∙ Kansas (D)
Tues May 12 Nebraska
Tue May 19 Oregon
US Congress & State:  Idaho
Tue Jun  2 District of Columbia ∙ Indiana ∙ Maryland ∙ Montana ∙ New Mexico ∙ Pennsylvania ∙ South Dakota
Presidential Only: Rhode Island
US Congress & State:  Iowa
Sat Jun  6 Presidential Only:  Virgin Islands caucus (D)
Sun Jun  7 US Congress & State:  Puerto Rico
Tue Jun  9 Georgia ∙ West Virginia
US Congress & State:  Nevada ∙ North Dakota ∙ South Carolina
     
Tues Jun 23 Kentucky ∙ New York
US Congress & State:  Mississippi runoff ∙ South Carolina runoff ∙ Virginia
Tue Jun 30 US Congress & State:  Colorado ∙ Oklahoma ∙ Utah
Tue Jul 7 New Jersey
Presidential Only:  Delaware
Sat Jul 11 Presidential only:  Louisiana
Tue Jul 14 Alabama runoff ∙ Texas runoff
US Congress & State:  Maine
Sat Aug  1 US Congress & State:  Virgin Islands
Sat Aug  4 US Congress & State:  Arizona ∙ Kansas ∙ Michigan ∙ Missouri ∙ Washington
Thr Aug  6 US Congress & State:  Tennessee
Sat Aug  8 US Congress & State:  Hawaii
Tue Aug 11 Connecticut
US Congress & State:  Georgia runoff ∙ Minnesota ∙ South Dakota runoff ∙ Vermont ∙ Wisconsin
Tue Aug 18 US Congress & State:  Alaska ∙ Florida ∙ Wyoming
Tue Aug 25 US Congress & State:  Oklahoma runoff
Sat Aug 29 US Congress & State:  Guam
Tue Sep  1 US Congress & State:  Massachusetts
Tue Sep  8 US Congress & State:  New Hampshire ∙ Rhode Island
Tue Sep 15 US Congress & State:  Delaware
     
Sat Sep 19 45 Days to Election: Ballots for the November 3rd General Election should be arriving
     

 


2020 Special Elections

for Vacancies in the U.S. House

Maryland's 7th | Wisconsin's 7th | California's 25th | see Ballotpedia.org for US House Special Elections 2020 ➚

 

Make a NEW ballot request for 2020 — send your form as early as JAN 2, 2020.

  1. Go to www.votefromabroad.org to complete* the Ballot Request form (FPCA).
    We recommend that you choose to receive your ballot by EMAIL or ONLINE to get it fastest.
  2. Follow the instructions to attach your signature online, or print out the completed form to sign it.
  3. Send the signed FPCA to your election official.
    To request an absentee ballot, registered voters can EMAIL, FAX or MAIL the FPCA.
    To register to vote:
      •  Maryland and Wisconsin voters must MAIL the form.
      •  California voters can MAIL or FAX the form or register online.
  • After you send in your form, be sure to email or call your Local Election Official to verify they received it and will be sending a ballot to you. You can find contact information for your election official using the State Voting Guide on VoteFromAbroad.org or on the instructions printed with your completed form.
  • If you use the FPCA to request a ballot, only one form submission is needed to cover all 2020 elections, including the November 3 general election.
  • You can expect to receive your ballot 45 days before the election. Send your FPCA as early as January 2, 2020 to get all your ballots as soon as they are available. Mark your calendar: the November ballot will be sent to you by September 19.

If you have any questions while filling out the form on VoteFromAbroad.org, click the orange chat box button orange online chat button on the lower right corner of the screen to send a question to the Voter Help Desk or email [email protected].

 

Maryland's 7th Congressional District — Primary: February 4  |  General: April 28

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Elijah Cummings (D), who died on October 17, 2019. MD-07 contains portions of Howard and Baltimore counties and parts of the city of Baltimore.  see map of MD-07 ➚

Primary ballots available from December 21, 2019 (MD has requested a delay for this deadline).
Special General ballots available from March 14.

 

Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District — Primary: February 18  |  General: May 12

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Sean Duffy (R), who left office on September 23, 2019. WI-07 includes Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn counties. Portions of Chippewa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, and Wood counties are also in the district.  see map of WI-07 ➚

Primary ballots available from January 4.
Special General ballots available from March 28.

 

California's 25th Congressional District — Primary: March 3  |  General: May 12

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned her seat on November 1, 2019. CA-25 includes the north-eastern portion of Los Angeles County and a small portion of eastern Ventura County. In California, non-presidential primary elections include all candidates regardless of party. The top two finishers advance to the general election, again regardless of party.  see map of CA-25 ➚

March 3 Special Primary coincides with California's Presidential Primary election.

  • January 18: Primary ballots available.
  • February 18: Register to vote (MAIL postmarked, ONLINE, FAX received)
  • February 25: Request a ballot (EMAIL, ONLINE, FAX, MAIL received)
  • March 3: Return voted by ballot (MAIL postmarked, FAX received by 8pm). Mailed ballots must be received no later than 3 days after election. Under California law, while you may receive a blank ballot by email, you may not return a voted ballot by email.

Special General ballots available from March 28.

 


*Note: When you fill in your Ballot Request form, be aware that selecting "I intend to return" rather than "my return is not certain" may contribute towards establishing yourself as a tax resident in your voting state. Because the legal requirements to establish "residence" or "domicile" for tax purposes are determined by state law and the specific facts of your life, if you are thinking about indicating "intend to return" on your form, you may consider seeking advice on these matters from your tax professional. (Not applicable to voters in AK, FL, NV, SD, TX, WA and WY)

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UPU UPDATE: TRUMP AGREES TO ALLOW US TO REMAIN IN THE UPU

Good news! Following an agreement by the member states at the Extraordinary Congress on 25 September 2019, the Trump Administration will allow the US to continue to participate in the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Please click on this link to see the Democrats Abroad Statement on the US remaining in UPU

While this is excellent news for the current elections, there is reason to be wary! The agreement allows the US (and other countries) to set their own postal rates starting 1 July 2020. If the US enacts higher rates, it could have a significant impact on mailing to and from the US.

To make sure you can successfully cast your ballot, please:

  1. When you fill out your ballot request form on votefromabroad.org, be sure to indicate you choose to receive your ballot by "Email or online". (We highly recommend you do not choose "Mail"--don't risk your ballot being lost or delayed in the mail!)

  2. Once you received your ballot, we recommend returning your ballot by email or fax if your state allows it.

  3. If your state does not allow ballot return using email or fax, please vote and mail back your ballot as soon as possible.

  4. Other options if you must mail back your ballot and postal mail isn't reliable or available in your country include (1) accessing the US Embassy/Consulate's diplomatic mail pouch (free but slow) and (2) private courier services (expensive but quick).
    It may also be possible to mail your ballot from within the US, but check with your Local Election Official first!

 

 


UPU Advice for 2019 Voters

The US administration has tentative plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) treaty mid-October 2019. Should that withdrawal happen, postal mail from abroad back to the US may experience delays and price increases. To make sure you can successfully cast your ballot in your state's elections this year we recommend the following steps:

  1. Prepare and send in your ballot request form now to your local election office via votefromabroad.org. choose
    • When you fill in your request form, make sure you indicate you choose to receive your ballot by "Email or online".
    • Do not choose "Mail".

    SEP 21Ballots for November 5 elections should be available on or around September 21.

  2. If you have not received your ballot by September 22 reach out to your local election office to find out its status. Find election office contact information at https://www.votefromabroad.org/states.

  3. Once you received your ballot, we recommend returning your ballot by email or fax if your state allows it.

    For those states that do not allow ballot return using email or fax, please vote and mail back your ballot immediately to avoid any disruption in mail service after October 17: 

 

Is your vote dependent on the postal service?

Does your state accept elections materials using alternatives to postal mail, such as email, online upload, or fax? Or is postal mail mandated?

 

I.  States restricting transmission to postal mail for

a.   Voter Registration (FPCA)

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida
  3. Idaho
  4. Oregon
  5. South Dakota
  6. West Virginia
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Wyoming

b.   Ballot Request (FPCA)

  1. Alabama
  2. Wyoming – if originally registered with FPCA

May submit FPCA by email or fax, but must mail form too:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. New York
  5. Rhode Island

c.   Voted Ballot Return 🗳

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Georgia
  4. Idaho
  5. Illinois
  6. Iowa   *email/fax only in "hostile zone"
  7. Kentucky
  8. Maryland
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota
  11. Missouri  *email/fax only in "hostile zone"
  12. New Hampshire
  13. New York
  14. Ohio
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. South Dakota
  17. Tennessee
  18. Texas  *fax only in "hostile zone"
  19. Vermont
  20. Virginia
  21. Wisconsin
  22. Wyoming

 

II.  States offering electronic options (email, online access, fax) to

a.   Deliver Blank Ballot to Voter

Every state will send absentee ballot electronically to voters abroad if preference to receive voting materials by "Email or online" or "Fax" is indicated on Ballot Request form (FPCA).

b.   Return Voted Ballot 🗳

  1. Alabama – return using online upload of ballot if choosing to received voting materials by "Email or online."
  2. Alaska – return by fax if choosing to received voting materials by "Email or online" or "Fax."
  3. Arizona
  4. California – return by fax
  5. Colorado – vote online at ballotreturn.sos.colorado.gov
  6. Delaware
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Florida – return by fax
  9. Hawaii
  10. Indiana
  11. Louisiana – return by fax with prior arrangement by LEO
  12. Kansas
  13. Maine
  14. Massachusetts
  15. Mississippi
  16. Montana – vote online at www.vote4montana.us
  17. Nebraska – return by email or fax with prior arrangement by LEO
  18. Nevada
  19. New Jersey – return by email or fax, but must mail marked ballot too
  20. New Mexico
  21. North Carolina
  22. North Dakota
  23. Oklahoma – return by fax
  24. Oregon
  25. Rhode Island – check with your election official to return by email or fax
  26. South Carolina
  27. Utah
  28. Washington
  29. West Virginia

2019 State Gubernatorial and Legislative Elections

Five states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia — will hold General Elections in November 2019 for state executive offices, state legislative offices or both.

    State Election
Tue May 21 Kentucky Primary
Tue Jun 04 New Jersey Primary
Tue Jun 11 Virginia Primary
Tue Aug 06 Mississippi Primary
Tue Aug 27 Mississippi Primary Runoff 
(If needed, top two finishers for any office where no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote in the Mississippi Primary Election)
Sat Oct 12 Louisiana Primary
(Any candidate who receives at least 50% of the vote in the Louisiana Primary Election wins office and does not go to the Louisiana General Election)
     
Sat Sep 21 45 Days to Election: overseas absentee ballots for the General Election should be arriving
     
Tue Nov 05 General Election - Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia
Sat Nov 16 General Election - Louisiana 
(If needed, top two finishers for any office where no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote in the Louisiana Primary Election)

Advice for voters on US plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Download 2019 State Gubernatorial and Legislative Elections list (Google Doc)

 

What is on the Ballot in 2019?

  • Kentucky — includes Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General and Secretary of State
    *All overseas voters, except those who have "never resided in the U.S.", may vote in KY state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • Louisiana — includes Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate and State House
    *All overseas voters, except those who have "never resided in the U.S.", may vote in LA state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • The race for Governor (Democratic John Bel Edwards seeks re-election) and Secretary of State (Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup) advance to General Election on Nov 16.
  • Mississippi — includes Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate and State House
  • *All overseas voters, except those who have "never resided in the U.S.", may vote in MS state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • New Jersey — General Assembly
  • *Overseas voters who indicate they "intend to return" may vote in NJ state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • Virginia — includes State Senate and State House
    *Overseas voters who indicate they "intend to return" may vote in VA state elections.
    In addition, VA overseas voters who indicate their "return is uncertain" may vote in VA state elections if they provide the name of an overseas employer for either the voter or the voter's spouse or the voter's parent (if the voter is a dependent)
    ➜ share on Facebook

 

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